Las Vegas Regional Race Report Saturday May 17, 1997 Copyright (c) 1997 John P. M. Dillon A small number of entries for the weekend, maybe 51 cars, came to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Of these, 3 cars are sharing drivers between Saturday ...
Las Vegas Regional Race Report Saturday May 17, 1997
Copyright (c) 1997 John P. M. Dillon
A small number of entries for the weekend, maybe 51 cars, came to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Of these, 3 cars are sharing drivers between Saturday and Sunday. On the other hand, some cars won't be coming back on Sunday, including Tom Grossman (usual prior commitments) and Craig Scheer (broken car after it rolled over in Turn 5).
Solo I fielded a bunch of cars the first session, as several race drivers new to the track used the 20 minutes to get a feel for where the course goes.
Groups 2 & 3 were combined for qualifying and racing, giving us only three race groups. It was pretty warm today, but a cloud cover and strong breeze (desert, dusty winds at times) helped moderate temperatures to the mid-90s or thereabouts.
17 cars started in the first group ("Group 3" if you're comparing results), over half of them were Spec Racers. Up front, the Landmark-prepped CSR's of Brian Pariseau and Dennis Goughary started in the lead, but on the second lap Goughary played "The Big Spin" in Turn 2 and dropped to last, only to work his way back to 3rd (2nd in class) at the checker, one lap down. Tom Hope's ShelCan capitalized on Goughary's spin to finish second overall, alone in class.
Next across the stripe was the SRF winner, Lee Fleming, who battled with Craig Reeder in the early part of the race until lapping began. When Reeder came up on Nobultide Shino Da on lap 9, the two had a slight coming together in Turn 8, causing Shino Da to spin and both cars to retire. Though most of the field strung out quickly, Mike McCarthy had a great race with Dave Rice. Rice's purple beauty held off McCarthy for all but the last lap, McCarthy scoring sixth in class. (Up front, the other two podium finishers in SRF were Ed Raby and Widget International's Doug Stewart, whose platform visit was long overdue.)
John Page, sponsored by Meher Montessori School, won in S2000, while Sherman Simmons retired early but won in FF, both drivers uncontested. John Danbro vanquished Michael Smith in FV, the latter hailing (pun slightly intended) from Anchorage, Alaska.
The middle race group combined cars from the street tire contingent.. Bob Stretch wasted no time in vanishing from the competition, finishing almost a minute ahead of Moises Romo and Dave Roberts. Romo started mid pack, but on lap 7 he got around Gene Rolfe and began challenging Roberts, taking the position on lap 9. These top four cars were all ITA, ahead of the lone SSA machine of James Kastigar. Roger Saether earned SRX7 honors when he crossed the stripe next. Lone SSC contestant Tom Grossman raced with Saether in the early laps, but an overheating problem forced him to back out of the throttle, leaving the three RX7s of Saether, Bob Stephan, and Michael Dunbar to challenge one another. (Stephan's car is classified ITA, but the other two vied for class position.) Craig Scheer rolled his car onto its side in Turn 5 late in the race, but at least he can take home the ITC victory along with his folded suspension.
The last race, Group 5, pitted Rod Oberg's Mustang against Gordon LaDuke's Camaro for AS honors. After a "less than fruitful start," LaDuke hung in there on the early laps, handling the twisty back section better, but the Mustang enjoyed serious horsepower on the front straight where it mattered. Late in the session LaDuke's engine soured, leaving him second overall, but 23 seconds behind the winner. Bob Stavely, another AS Mustang, finished last (third in class) after spending 5 laps in the pits for undisclosed service. Adron Harris (GT3), Alex Long from Seattle (T1), and Dan Goode (GT4) all raced to uncontested wins. Brian Winch won ITS handily over Scott Ginaven, both in Mazda RX7s.